Is it illegal for an employer to require that an employee be liable for the costs incurred in an auto accident if they were driving the company car but doing personal errands?

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Is it illegal for an employer to require that an employee be liable for the costs incurred in an auto accident if they were driving the company car but doing personal errands?

Asked on May 28, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, the employer may require this--the employer is not required to absorb these costs, especially if the employee was not on company business at the time. If the employee does not pay, the company could--

1) Terminate his or her employment, potentially for cause (i.e. no unemploymet benefits), or do anything less than or short of termination (like a demotion, pay cut, hour cut, transfer, etc.); and/or

2) Sue the employee for the money--if the company can show that the employee was at fault (e.g. driving carelessly or negligently), they could recover the money from him or her.


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